1300 different Vanity Fair Prints please click
The Vanity Fair Print Company Catalogue
If you are looking at buying an old prints that is supposed to be from the early part of the 19th century or earlier, make sure that it is a stone lithograph and not a color separated photolithograph. Many old posters have been reproduced using more modern color separation techniques (photolithographic).
To tell the difference, you will need a strong magnifier. A 10x jewelers loupe is ideal, but a 5x pocket magnifier may work, if your eyes are pretty good and you have an idea of what to look for. First let's look at a chromolithograph from the 1890's (below). Remember that lithographs are printed from a stone and will have the grain of the stone in the print. You will see "dots" of color, but they will be irregular when compared to the "dots" in a color separation (photolithographic) print. The small photograph (below) approximate what you would see through a 5x magnifier.
Because the dots in the chromolithograph come from the stone it was printed with, the dots will not always look the same. They will look like the grain in the stone used. Here is a close up of a early print on the left and a later color separation (photolithograph) print on the right.